“It was very hard to feel beautiful in an external sense – my skin colour had a green tinge to it, there was a lot of steroid effects and it was hard to feel good. I had the understanding that this was all part of the journey, but it didn’t make it any easier to go out of the house.”
On rare outings when she felt up to it, the teenager would go to a cafe with her mum. “That was as much as I could do after two weeks of treatment,” she says. “I would have one day before I would have to go back to the hospital, and I would go have a hot chocolate with my mum.”
The ‘Lost Without You’ singer turned to music to escape her pain. Her debut album, Innocent Eyes, would go on to sell 4.5 million copies throughout the world. Goodrem would imagine herself performing songs again.
Olivia Newton-John wrote her a letter and has remained a mentor throughout her life. Elton John called her on her first day of chemo. “It was an extraordinary and extreme time in my life,” she says.
Remission was, Goodrem says, another challenge. “It was as if a bomb has gone off and you have to put all the pieces back together.” It was time to heal, but it was an agonising process. “My body had just gone through a battle and it hurt,” she reflects. “It took a much longer time to get back to the ‘you can take on the world’ feeling.”
Goodrem says her priorities have changed since her life-changing experience. “There’s nothing more important than your health,” she says.
Now an ambassador for Kinghorn Cancer Centre, she’s inspired by those who watch their family and friends tackle cancer. “When you meet the families who are there at the hospital going through it with their loved ones, it is very inspiring and deeply touches my heart,” she says.
For more inspirational stories, pick up a copy of Who's Most Beautiful People 2020 Issue, out now.